Mets shut down Twins
NEW YORK -- Even a prodigious home run by Ike Davis and a spotless outing by Jonathon Niese couldn't prevent them from looking silly in those skimpy soccer outfits Sunday.
Davis hit one of three New York homers, Niese won his fourth straight decision and the Mets put on an impressive power show at cavernous Citi Field in a 6-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
After the game, though, things got ugly.
As part of a baseball hazing ritual, the Mets dressed their rookies in Team USA World Cup uniforms for their trip to Puerto Rico to play the Florida Marlins this week. Tight-fitting navy blue jerseys, cut off haphazardly at the stomach, some with holes in 'em.
High white socks, short-shorts, mini soccer balls for props.
"Ike doesn't look too good," catcher Rod Barajas said.
"None of 'em look any good," David Wright chimed in.
Wright and Jeff Francoeur each hit a two-run shot before Davis went deep -- very, very deep. New York racked up 14 hits and took two of three in an interleague series between playoff contenders, improving to 3-8 in rubber games this season.
Francoeur finished a triple shy of the cycle, emphatically ending a 3-for-22 slide. Wright and Jesus Feliciano also had three hits as the Mets completed interleague play with a 13-5 mark, their most victories against AL clubs in one year.
"At this point, I think you have to say we're a pretty good baseball team," Francoeur said.
New York, second in the NL East, battered starter Scott Baker in winning for the 16th time in 21 games. The Mets also upped their record at home to 28-12 with their 14th victory in 17 games at Citi Field.
Minnesota, clinging to a slim lead in the AL Central, has lost five of six. The Twins, who rested sluggers Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel, completed a 3-6 road trip to three NL cities.
"Bad day at the ballpark," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Niese (5-2) used his sharp curve to tame a Twins lineup stacked with seven right-handed hitters -- none of whom had faced him before. The lefty allowed four hits in six-plus innings on a humid afternoon, improving to 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts since returning from a strained right hamstring.
Elmer Dessens, Pedro Feliciano and Bobby Parnell finished the seven-hitter (all singles), New York's major league-best 11th shutout of the season.
"That's good," manager Jerry Manuel said. "I think our ballpark helps us with that, no doubt about it."
Francoeur jumped on a hanging slider with two outs in the fourth and drove it to left for his eighth homer, making up for an earlier baserunning error. Davis was aboard on a leadoff single.
Niese escaped a jam in the fifth and New York's offense broke it open in the bottom half by chasing Baker (6-7) with four straight extra-base hits. Jesus Feliciano looped a one-out double and Wright, the NL RBI leader, sent a 1-2 pitch to left for his 14th home run this season and fourth at Citi Field -- two against Minnesota in the past three days.
Davis followed with a colossal shot onto the Shea Bridge, a pedestrian walkway above the back of the bullpens located behind the right-center field fence.
"He had to ruin the show. But look at him now. We get the last laugh. Look at him. That's a bad body in that USA outfit," Francoeur said. "He crushed that. He's got stupid pop. I told David mine went farther, David goes, 'Mine went out faster,' and then we both watched Ike hit and we said, 'Well, we'll shut up now."'
Jason Bay tripled, becoming the 10th Canadian-born player to reach 1,000 hits, and Barajas greeted reliever Alex Burnett with an RBI single that made it 6-0.
"If I string together 15 more good years in a row I'll hit that 3,000 mark, be good to go," Bay said with a smile.
The Mets hit for the cycle in a span of five batters during a half-inning that lasted 31 minutes.
"I just need to make better pitches," Baker said. "Today is just an example of a problem that we have been having. We have not gotten consistently good pitching."
Baker struck out six but gave up 11 hits, his most since yielding the same amount Sept. 5, 2007, against Cleveland.
"He couldn't get his breaking ball down," Gardenhire said. "Too many pitches up in the zone and they banged 'em."
NOTES: Mets prized prospect Jenrry Mejia left a start with Double-A Binghamton in the second inning because of a stiff right shoulder. Mejia pitched out of the bullpen for New York until he was sent down to the minors last Sunday to resume his development as a starter. ... It was Feliciano's second three-hit game in four days while filling in for ailing CF Angel Pagan -- who has been subbing for injured Carlos Beltran all season. Pagan (right side) said he still felt some discomfort when swinging left-handed and he didn't think he'd be ready to start Monday night against Florida. ... With his 154th homer, Wright tied Dave Kingman for fourth place on the club's career list.